So when I started writing this, it's about 30 minutes before I turn 30. I used to think birthdays were unremarkable, not worth too much fuss or time. But my bud Karel figures it's one of the most worthy times to celebrate and tonight I realized he's right.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you actually glimpse the depth of what it means to live? It's like getting a sliver of what God sees. Like when you're able to imagine Heaven and actually SEE it, consider the mind-blowing intricacies of a human body, or understand and experience what love -true, selfless, intoxicating, fulfilling love -is actually like.
A birthday is an invitation to experience those sorts of thoughts. One day, 30 years ago, the most wonderful woman in the world gave birth to a squalling miracle of life. I couldn't feed, move or clean myself, yet now I do all that (with varying degrees of success :) and oh so much more. And that development has less to do with me and more to do with those around me.
A God who designed this miraculous body that grows, develops, changes, each cell with a purpose...simply because He said so.
A father who's given me balance, strength and true comradeship.
A mother who's bled love and devotion.
A sister who's inspired determination and my love of a cackle.
An extended family that's been a pillar of strength and support.
A friend, a Nubian king, whose deep thoughts and authentic heart propelled me to late hours and the dawn of my spiritual awakening.
A friend whose leap of faith hangs on my wall. He's felt the fear, did it anyway and inspired me to do the same.
A friend with his own country and a list of things to do before he dies.
A friend of true authenticity, who I call one of my closest, despite only several days spent in person.
A friend of astounding vocabulary, her stories having unparalleled hilarity and sublime, sardonic wit.
A friend who beckons to the great outdoors, lives and breathes the nature God's set before him.
A friend, a mentor, a man of artistic passion, zealous joyfulness and one with whom I experienced my greatest moment of happiness.
Friends that I've hurt, yet received forgiveness and wisdom.
A friend who showed what true love meant, and "laid down His life for [this friend]" that I may know Him now, and thank Him for eternity.
Truly...I am blessed.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I had a spiritual retreat with these brothers of mine in Lethbridge last weekend. It wasn't planned, but then God's blessings are often surprises. And it was more than religious discussion. It was belly-aching laughter, hearty food, and the open, frank discussions of men. God nourishes us in many ways, and we were filled.
To my brothers Yual and Job, I say thank you. It seems that some of the people who most often strengthen you in life, often must leave you. But I believe it's so that they can bless others, and so that you can learn to move forward on your own. It's then we realize that distance can never erase the bonds of friendship.
So it's taken me a month to come full circle since my last post. It's been a struggle to let God work in me. Yet today I had a breakthrough.
I've been convicted the last several weeks that my focus is off. I realized I didn't know Jesus. I know OF Him, but I've let my friendship with Him completely slide. And today, I got a greater glimpse of Him. Pray that it lasts!
Have you ever considered what it would have been like for Jesus to be born? Here's the Creator of all things, giving up an audience of angels, for a painful, bloody birth. Imagine all of those first experiences at birth. His first pain, His first chill, His first yell. The one that stuns me is His first smell.
Jesus was born in a barn, laid in a feeding trough. The King of Heaven volunteered to save our world, and his very first introduction to the earth...was the smell of animal feces. No parent on earth today would wish such a birth situation as that...but God chose it and it humbles me.
"The heart of the human father yearns over his son..he trembles at the thought life's peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan's power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. Yet...yet...To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave his only begotten Son , so that the path of life may be made clear for OUR little ones".
~ Desire of Ages, p 48-9
I'm not a father, but I am a brother to a beautiful, wonderful sister. And I know what it means to pray and fear for her well-being in a world that's bent on the abuse of women in all forms. So when I consider what it meant for God to send His most precious child, to send Him to "meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss" (DA, 49)....I don't really know how to deal with that. The risk was huge, Christ could have failed, but the reward was worth the risk.
After reading this, I asked God for a simple principle that I could apply to remember this.
And the answer came quietly, but quickly - "Be thankful and receive".
So thank whomever deserves your thanks today, it's all you can do to repay them.